China says it has a long-range radar that can spot U.S. stealth aircraft at over-the-horizon distances

HF radar bounces signals off the ionosphere, but experts say poor resolution and timing make it inadequate for targeting anti-aircraft missiles.

Jun 12th, 2019
A powerful HF radar signal from a large transmitting antenna can reach a target beyond the horizon by reflecting off the ionosphere, and the echo signal from the target returns to the receiving antenna by the same route.
A powerful HF radar signal from a large transmitting antenna can reach a target beyond the horizon by reflecting off the ionosphere, and the echo signal from the target returns to the receiving antenna by the same route.

BEIJING – China reportedly has developed an over-the-horizon maritime early warning radar system that its creator claims can detect stealth aircraft far beyond visual range, an advanced capability that could threaten U.S. fifth-generation fighters operating in the area. Business Insider reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

12 June 2019 -- Liu Yongtan, the team leader for the radar project, says the radar can detect enemy air and naval threats hundreds of kilometers away in any weather condition. The 83-year-old creator says the radar is also immune to anti-radiation missiles, which track the point of origin for electromagnetic waves.

Western experts argue that this type of long-range radar has limitations that prevent it from being the death of a fifth-generation fighter like the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. Major drawbacks include low resolution and lack of a real-time target-grade track, and imprecise fixes that are inadequate for targeting anti-aircraft missiles.

The U.S. military has developed this kind of high-frequency radar before, in the 1980s-vintage Over The Horizon-Backscatter (OTH-B) radar, and the Navy's Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR) systems. Over-the-horizon radar bounces HF radio waves off the Ionosphere similar to shortwave radio.

Related: Navy asks Raytheon to operate and maintain ROTHR over-the-horizon surveillance radar

Related: Aerostat-based over the horizon radar for cruise missile defense demonstrated by Raytheon

Related: Raytheon to continue work on aerostat-based cruise missile defense system

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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